P.N.03 ("P.N." stands for Product Number) is a futuristic third-person shooter developed and published by Capcom and directed by Shinji Mikami. It was released for the GameCube in 2003. The game was initially part of what was known as the "Capcom Five," a collection of five Capcom titles in development exclusively for the GameCube. The five titles that were part of this collection included P.N.03, Killer7, Resident Evil 4, Viewtiful Joe, and Dead Phoenix. Of the games in the Capcom Five that made it to market (Dead Phoenix being cancelled outright), only P.N. 03 remained exclusive to the GameCube platform.
P.N.03 is aesthetically designed as a "stylish" shooter. Bounty hunter Vanessa Z. Schneider's attacks and dodges are choreographed like dance moves as she fights renegade robots. Do an energy attack and she artfully glides into an energetic pose, legs splayed and palms out. Do another one and she pirouettes sideways, arching her back in another pose. This stylish combat is the core of the game, and the player's performance is scored as progress is made. Vanessa performs her energy drive special attacks with particular flourish, and when idle, she taps her foot to the game's minimalist electronic soundtrack.
Vanessa is hired by the mysterious client to inspect and clear an outpost taken over by renegade robots. Receiving instructions via an encrypted communication channel, Vanessa and her client develop a playful relationship. As she explores the facility, she finds evidence of cloning experiments and gradually learns more of the outpost, as well as the client, whose identity is not revealed until the end.
Vanessa must fight legions of robots, clearing them room by room. She is armed with a palm blaster and special moves called energy drives that draw energy from her Aegis Suit. Taking a cue from Capcom's series Street Fighter, the energy drives are initiated with quick commands of the directional pad. Different suits have different energy drives available.
Dodging is perfomed by pressing the shoulder buttons, which causes Vanessa to flip and cartwheel to the side. At the basic level, combat is a system of learning when to time her dodges in between bursts of fire from her suit. Additional evasion techniques include a pirouette move that makes Vanessa briefly invulnerable, and a backwards leap useful for dodging certain enemy attacks. Aggressive play is rewarded, as dodging reduces the players combo chain, which in turn results in a lower score and less rewards used for purchasing upgrades.
Points and Upgrades
The points scored during gameplay can be used to buy new suits, which differ in weapon and shielding statistics as well as the available energy drives, or special attacks. Points can also be spent to improve individual suit statistics such as rate of fire, shielding and energy drive power. As Vanessa acquires new suits in the game, they become skimpier and more revealing. The most difficult to acquire armor in the game shows a significant amount of skin, but while its attack power is the best in the game, its defense is negligible, and Vanessa can be killed in a single hit.
The game's five primary missions are stages structured as a series of rooms that must be navigated while eliminating the robots within. Each mission also contains at least one boss battle. Between the primary missions, the player may also participate in "Trial Missions," which are randomly generated stages comprised of rooms previously encountered in the game. The various rooms require the player to use the available cover, learn the spawning and firing patterns of enemies and find the most efficient way of clearing the room.
The tank-style control scheme and repetitive gameplay, while deliberate design choices, were disliked by many critics. Review aggregation site Metacritic lists a score of 63 based on 35 critical reviews.